Award winning Urban Splash is now the owner of Plymouth's Civic Centre
Plymouth City Council has now completed the sale of the listed building with the company that helped transform the city’s Royal William Yard, taking it from a disused Naval supplies base to a thriving residential community and much-loved destination with diverse offer covering office, retail and food and drink operators.
Urban Splash Director Nathan Cornish said: “We’re really excited to be making another commitment in Plymouth. The longer we work in the city, the more it gives us confidence that this is a place we want to be investing.
“We’re delighted to have completed the purchase of the Civic Centre from Plymouth City Council. It’s an important listed building and we look forward to reviewing design options over the coming months.”
Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “This is a really significant achievement for the Council and signals the end of an era for the authority and a lot of hard work by staff and members to find a new use for this landmark.
“The building has played an important role in running our city for the last 50 years. We look forward to seeing it play a new role in the ongoing regeneration Plymouth, creating jobs and helping the city prosper.”
Councillor Mark Lowry, Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets, said: “The Civic Centre is a building that everyone has strong opinions about and I’m delighted it’s now in the hands of a company with a great track record of taking on challenging regeneration projects and creating jobs.
“The Civic was part of the post war reconstruction and is an architecturally significant building, but needs to be handled with care. It is an important landmark and a key part of the Abercrombie Plan that connects the city with the waterfront.
“It would cost around £30 million for the Council to restore the building – a figure we simply can’t afford to spend in this climate. This is a time of significant change for local councils and many people are now employed under new arrangements with partners which means we no longer need a building of this size.”
A delegated decision was signed last February authorising the sale of the freehold to the company. Since then, the two parties have been involved in finalising details of the exchange and then the completion of the deal.
The Council car park next to the building is also included in the sale – although the Council House, which houses the Lord Mayor’s parlour and the Chamber, will still be owned by the Council and will be where all the committee meetings are held.
Over the past year contractors have carried out work to separate all utility and services supplies between the two buildings. A new CCTV centre was installed in the basement of the Council House.
Staff from the Council’s Legal and Democratic Services were the last to leave the building which housed over 1,000 people.
Since June 2014, teams have been moved out of the Civic as part of a carefully coordinated project. Ahead of moving to new offices, all teams had to carry out some considerable housekeeping and organising files and information.
The Civic Centre was listed in 2007 by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Opened by the Queen in July 1962, the building was the main administrative centre for Plymouth City Council until last year.
Award winning property developer Urban Splash is the country’s leading regeneration company and has delivered over 60 mixed-use schemes including residential property of all tenures, commercial office, retail and a hotel.
Founded in 1993 by Tom Bloxham MBE and Jonathan Falkingham MBE, the company is based in Manchester with regional offices in Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol, Sheffield and Plymouth. The company has invested nearly a billion pounds creating thousands of new homes and jobs in over two million sq ft of commercial space.
Urban Splash has delivered challenging and exciting regeneration projects across the country including Fort Dunlop in Birmingham, Chimney Pot Park in Salford, Castlefield and New Islington in Manchester, The Midland Hotel in Morecambe, Royal William Yard in Plymouth, Lister Mills in Bradford, Rotunda in Birmingham, Matchworks in Garston and the Ropewalks in Liverpool.
For 2015 the company is focussing on delivering its new residential concept hoUSe in Manchester and North Shields, the second phase of homes at Park Hill in Sheffield, new commercial schemes including offices at Stubbs Mill in Manchester and continuing its rolling redevelopment programme of its grade one listed Royal Will Yard in Plymouth.
The company has received over 350 awards to date for its commitment to architecture, design, regeneration and business success including 57 RIBA Awards the most won by a property developer.